Booth Manor is preparing to celebrate its 20th anniversary Sunday. When it does, it will be in a setting that couldn't be more different from when it opened.
Travel back in time, all the way to the year 1992, and the area around Booth Manor would barely be recognizable.
Across the street isn't Target and Panera, but a field full of crops waiting to be harvested. Depending on where their rooms are, other Booth Manor residents can look out their window and see a forest and deer.
The Salvation Army hasn't yet been built. A second Booth Manor building is still five years away.
"There used to be a farmhouse here that they used to have some kind of church meetings in," Salvation Army Capt. Tom McComb said.
Of course, it wouldn't be long until development sprung up all around Booth Manor to what you see today: shopping centers and department stores and banks and many other commercial buildings that have made Oak Creek one of the fastest-growing communities in the state.
For Booth Manor residents, the city's evolution turned out to be a good thing, McComb said.
"There's no way we could have planned how good of a location it ended up being," he said. "A lot of the seniors, being low-income or restricted from driving, are limited in their transportation since there's not a bus that goes anywhere closer than MATC.
"There's a support system for these people, all within walking distance. It's incredible ... I look at it as a God thing. He really opened up the door for us to find this property, and then it built up around us."
Booth Manor will hold an outdoor worship, open to the public, at 10:30 a.m. Sunday to celebrate 20 years. McComb said it will be a family-friendly event — food, children's games and bingo follow the service. Longtime Booth Manor residents will also be honored.
Residents are making birthday cakes, part of a display of homemade desserts and baked goods. Organizers are also discussing a time capsule.
"The residents are really giving us a lot of creative input on what they want out of this," McComb said.
Each Booth Manor building has 40 units. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidizes the facility for low-income seniors.
Not only has the location been kind to Booth Manor residents, so has the association with the Salvation Army.
Residents spend a lot of time volunteering with the church. Certainly, it helps the Salvation Army. But the activities also provide a bright spot in residents' lives, McComb said.
"There are people who volunteer in our food pantry. There are Booth Manor residents that help us serve meals. For our red kettle program, Booth Manor helps prepare the deposits. So they are involved in everything we do, and it gives them a purpose," he said.
"I feel very proud of what has happened here in the fact that not only are we giving people a place to stay and shelter, we're giving them a community. We're giving them neighbors. We're giving them a fun place to be."